Antibiotic misuse in children by the primary care physicians--an Indian experience

Niger J Clin Pract. 2008 Mar;11(1):52-7.


Objective: To determine the misuse of antibiotics in the Pediatric outpatients department' (OPD) of a busy teaching hospital and to ascertain the probable reasons behind it.

Methods: Over a 6 months period, new cases primarily treated with antibiotics by Medical Officers (first contact physicians in Peadiatric Medicine and Surgery OPD) were recruited in the study after obtaining written consent from the parents. Various errors of antibiotic usage were noted. All Medical Officers were asked to fill up a preformed questionnaire and the parents/guardians were interviewed on their ideas about antibiotics. Data were analyzed by the statistical software SPSS 10.

Results: Antibiotics were prescribed in 2427 (84.9%) new patients. Misuse of antibiotics was documented in 36.8% patients (no indication in 35.3%, improper selection in 17.9% and incorrect dosage in 7.7%). All medical officers were aware that they overuse antibiotics. The various reasons sited were demand of the parents, reluctance to counsel due to patient overload, free supply of medicines from OPD and sympathetic grounds as follow up visits were uncertain. Majority of the parents/attendants belonged to poor socioeconomic status and did not have any idea regarding antibiotics. All parents wanted quick relief without hospitalization and only 2.3% were willing to revisit the OPD for the same illness. Both medical officers and parents felt that base line investigations were unnecessary.

Conclusion: Antibiotic misuse is quite common in this part of the world. Irrational use was mostly seen in over-prescribing and improper selection of antibiotic. Poor socio-economic status and overcrowding of patients in OPD were the main responsible factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Competence
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Medication Errors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Outpatients*
  • Physicians, Family*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents